A Method to Quantify Drosophila Behavioral Activities Induced by GABAA Agonist Muscimol

Bio Protoc. 2021 Apr 20;11(8):e3982. doi: 10.21769/BioProtoc.3982.


Muscimol is a psychoactive isoxazole derived from the mushroom Amanita muscaria. As a potent GABAA receptor agonist, muscimol suppresses the activity of the central nervous system, reduces anxiety and induces sleep. We investigated the effects of muscimol on Drosophila behavior. Drosophila behavioral assays are powerful tools that are used to assess neural functions by focusing on specific changes in selected behavior, with the hypothesis that this behavioral change is due to alteration of the underlying neural function of interest. In this study, we developed a comparatively simple and cost-effective method for feeding adult flies muscimol, a pharmacologically active compound, and for quantifying the phenotypes of "resting" and "grooming+walking". This protocol may provide researchers with a convenient method to characterize small molecule-induced behavioral output in flies.

Keywords: GABAA; Anxiety; Behavior; Drosophila; Muscimol; Neural function.